Belfast Telegraph

Video: Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly does Strictly: Anger as victims campaigner says 'the jokers must go'

Warning: Video contains strong language

By Cate McCurry

Sinn Fein has been slammed for holding a lucrative dancing fundraiser - won by former IRA bomber Gerry Kelly - at a time when the political institutions here are in crisis and Northern Ireland faces an uncertain future.

Kenny Donaldson, spokesman for Innocent Victims United, said the event - held just days before the Assembly election - raised questions about Sinn Fein's priorities. While admitting that people are free to do as they wish within the law, Mr Donaldson said it was time for the "jokers to leave the stage".

He said that "many, many people - victims and otherwise - will ask the question: what priority is Sinn Fein/PIRA giving to the many needs of our community at a time when a further Assembly election is but days away and an uncertain political future follows?"

He added: "Instead of building up their coffers many would wish that they would instead focus upon those issues which continue to keep our community divided - Sinn Fein/PIRA have not accounted for the wrong that they have inflicted upon this society and which they continue to commemorate and self-justify."

Gerry Kelly was one of the top political names to feature in the weekend Sinn Fein fundraiser, as he danced with his wife to the strains of Roxanne by The Police.

One of the judges was new Sinn Fein Stormont leader Michelle O'Neill, while party deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald and former IRA commander Bobby Storey were comperes.

Dubbed 'Sinn Fein Does Strictly at the Movies' the event was held at The Devenish in west Belfast.

The competition was lambasted by the DUP's Nelson McCausland. "This is obviously a rather shabby and second-rate copy of the popular BBC programme, Strictly Come Dancing," Mr Kelly's North Belfast rival said. "It was both bizarre and laughable but the biggest irony is that those who are so strident in their Irishness have to borrow one of the iconic programmes from the British Broadcasting Corporation to raise money for Sinn Fein. I am certainly not in a position to assess the quality of Gerry Kelly's dancing, but I suspect the best dancer in Sinn Fein is the president, Gerry Adams, who has spent decades dancing on the head of a pin when asked about membership of the IRA.

"Sinn Fein has also spent decades dancing on the graves of victims of IRA bombers and gunmen."

At one point, Mr Kelly and West Belfast MP Paul Maskey took to the stage in fancy dress outfits to perform to Elton John's Crocodile Rock.

It appears to have been a joke at the expense of the DUP after Arlene Foster dismissed Sinn Fein's demand for an Irish language Act with the words: "If you feed a crocodile it will keep coming back for more."

But Mr Donaldson said: "The political process has become a laughing stock and Sinn Fein's latest attempt at humour with their personnel wearing crocodile suits and performing Crocodile Rock says much for their priorities in the run-up to Thursday's poll.

"Irrespective of what happens on Thursday the days of the UK Government pandering to and appeasing Sinn Fein/PIRA must be at an end. It's time for the jokers to leave the stage".

The dance moves of Gerry Kelly and his wife didn’t impress everyone, but Sinn Fein’s Stormont leader Michelle O’Neill was an interested judge
The dance moves of Gerry Kelly and his wife didn’t impress everyone, but Sinn Fein’s Stormont leader Michelle O’Neill was an interested judge
The dance moves of Gerry Kelly and his wife didn’t impress everyone, but Sinn Fein’s Stormont leader Michelle O’Neill was an interested judge
The dance moves of Gerry Kelly (pictured) and his wife didn’t impress everyone, but Sinn Fein’s Stormont leader Michelle O’Neill was an interested judge

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